Updated August 31, 2021
By Anne Evenson
“I’ve heard there’s going to be a recession. I’ve decided not to participate.”
Walt Disney, American Entrepreneur, Animator, Voice Actor, and Film Producer
Is Your Career Recession-Resistant?
From the Great Recession to the COVID-19 pandemic, downturns in the business cycle recur periodically and, although they are often expected, they can still cause significant upheaval to your career progression. What are some precautions to take in order to stabilize your job growth in times of economic upheaval?
Don’t be Blindsided by a Decelerating Economy
Experience tells us that though recessions usually affect some industries more than others, each one is unique. A job sector that remained reasonably stable during a previous downturn can be devastated by the next one. No profession is guaranteed to withstand an economic decline, but some fare better than others. Occupations that are necessary to a functioning society like healthcare, law enforcement and public utilities usually remain relatively unscathed.
Now is a great time to ensure that your professional trajectory doesn’t falter before the next recession. There are steps you can take to protect your current job while moving your career forward. Some emerging fields could be safer bets if you’re looking for an employment transition.
Expand Your Knowledge and Skillsets
Regardless of what industry you work in, there is always more to learn. Actively pursuing professional development is an excellent way to increase your value within your current organization.
Employees who think critically and analytically to solve complex problems are crucial to the success of any organization. As technological change has accelerated, business analysis has emerged as an essential discipline that companies require to remain competitive in the marketplace. Business analysts liaise between technology developers and business stakeholders by assessing the organization’s business model and its integration with technology. Using data to evaluate processes, business analysts identify essential business needs and establish solutions to meet requirements. Business analysts also frequently facilitate the integration and testing of new technology solutions. The average base pay for a business analyst is $76,109.
People will always need healthcare and legal assistance, no matter what the economy is doing. For some of those people, English is not their first language. Conversations about health care and legal issues can be complicated enough without a language barrier. With globalization and the growing number of people in the United States who speak a foreign language, the need for interpreters and translators continues to grow and evolve, generating new career opportunities for individuals with language skills. The median salary in 2018 was $49,930, with the job outlook increasing by 19% over the next ten years.
Survive the Next Recession with a Career in Information Technology
Technology is ubiquitous and dynamic and the rising demand for information technology (IT) specialists will continue regardless of the state of the economy. It’s also one of the highest paying fields that doesn’t require a college degree. Most employers prefer security analysts and developers who hold certificates in specific programming languages and other specialties and often pay higher salaries to those who do. During a recession, companies are often looking for ways to increase efficiency, and IT services are one of the top ways to streamline business processes.
Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing fields in IT. Information security analysts develop and implement processes to safeguard data in an organization’s computer systems and networks. The median annual salary in 2019 was $98,350, with a projected job growth through 2026 of 28%. Find more information about the availability of cybersecurity jobs in your area with the Cybersecurity Supply and Demand Heat Map.
If you’re an early adopter of new gadgets and you love the innovative, pioneering world of technology, then you might consider software development. Software application developers create programs and applications for computers, mobile devices, and gaming systems. System software developers create the networks and systems that run those programs and applications. The median annual salary in 2018 for systems software developers was $110,000, with a quicker than average projected job growth rate through 2026 of 11%. Application software developers had a median income of $103,620 in 2018, with an even faster average projected job growth rate of 31%.
If you lean towards the creative side of things, then web development may be your best bet. Front-end developers build websites based on their overall appearance, features, function and maintenance. Back-end developers are responsible for the technical architecture that supports the web application logic and integration of the work that front-end developers do. They may also take the lead on troubleshooting and making significant updates to the website. Web developers should be prepared to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of computer science and graphic design as part of the hiring process. The median salary for a web developer in 2018 was $69,430, with a 15% projected job growth rate through 2026.
Though most career fields are likely to feel the impact of a recession, those mentioned above typically offer more security than others. If you’re currently employed and would like to stay within your organization, consider adding new skills to your professional portfolio. If you’re presently unemployed or contemplating a career change, take into account which professions could better safeguard your future.
Anne Evenson is a marketing specialist and copy editor working in Austin, Texas. She holds a BFA in Fibers and Printmaking from the Kansas City Art Institute.
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